Faced with stiffening sanctions from Western countries over its invasion of Ukraine, Russia is considering accepting bitcoin as payment for its oil and gas exports.
In a videotaped news conference held on Thursday, the chair of Russia’s Duma committee on energy said in translated remarks that when it comes to “friendly” countries such as China or Turkey, Russia is willing to be more flexible with payment options.
Chair Pavel Zavalny said that the national fiat currency of the buyer — as well as bitcoin — were being considered as alternative ways to pay for Russia’s energy exports.
“We have been proposing to China for a long time to switch to settlements in national currencies for rubles and yuan,” Zavalny said in translated comments. “With Turkey, it will be lira and rubles.”
He didn’t stop with traditional currencies.
“You can also trade bitcoins,” he said.
Bitcoin is up close to 4% over the last 24 hours to about $44,000. The price of the cryptocurrency spiked around the time that news reports of Zavalny’s remarks first crossed.
The energy chair also doubled down on President Vladimir Putin’s promise on Wednesday to require “unfriendly” countries to pay for gas in Russian rubles. Putin’s announcement sent European gas prices soaring over worries the move might aggravate an energy market already under pressure.
“If they want to buy, let them pay either in hard currency, and this is gold for us, or pay as it is convenient for us, this is the national currency,” Zavalny said, in comments that echoed the president’s warning from the day before.